Found March 04, 2013 on SteelBlitz Steelers Blog:
The Pittsburgh Steelers finished the 2012 season with an unimpressive 8-8 record. For the Steelers that’s an uncharacteristically bad season based on recent performances. It’s tied for their worst record since 2003 and has sparked plenty of talk about what went wrong with the 2012 Steelers. Just the other day I wrote about what the Steelers need to do to fix their run game because a good run game has always equaled a good record for the team. However, today I pulled up a stat that is even more indicative of the Steelers success in a given year. There has been a lot of talk this off-season about the Steelers number one defense during the 2012 season. The Steelers finished the year ranked number one overall in total yards given up. They also ranked first in pass yards and second in rush yards. Usually those stats are representative of a very good defense. Even with that ranking in yards on defense the Steelers had their fourth worst points allowed per game in the last ten seasons. Here is a look at the Steelers points per game allowed and records for the past ten years: Year PPG Allowed Record 2003 20.4 6 and 10 2004 15.7 15 and 1 2005 16.1 11 and 5 2006 19.7 8 and 8 2007 16.8 10 and 6 2008 13.9 12 and 4 2009 20.2 9 and 7 2010 14.5 12 and 4 2011 14.2 12 and 4 2012 19.6 8 and 8 If you sort the seasons based on points per game allowed it comes out this way: Year PPG Allowed Record 2003 20.4 6 and 10 2009 20.2 9 and 7 2006 19.7 8 and 8 2012 19.6 8 and 8 2007 16.8 10 and 6 2005 16.1 11 and 5 2004 15.7 15 and 1 2010 14.5 12 and 4 2011 14.2 12 and 4 2008 13.9 12 and 4 Based on that it’s clear that when the defense is performing at their best the Steelers are at their best as a team. The only season that doesn’t fit is 2004. However, the 2004 season was also the best season the Steelers had rushing the ball during this ten year span, which makes up for that difference in points per game. When Dick LeBeau returned to the Steelers in 2004 their defense took off and has led the team for the past nine seasons. During that span the Steelers have had the top rated defense in terms of yards allowed five different times and they have ranked in the top five eight times during of those nine seasons. As far as points per game allowed the Steelers have ranked first four times and second one time over the past nine seasons under LeBeau. In 2004 the Steelers rated first in total yards and scoring defense. They did that again in 2008 and 2011. In 2010 they ranked second in total yards and first in points allowed. During those four seasons the Steelers made two AFC Championship games and won a Super Bowl. There other top season was in 2007 when they ranked first in yards allowed and second in points given up. During six of the Steelers nine seasons under LeBeau they have ranked first or second in yards allowed. In each of those six seasons the Steelers ranked first or second in points allowed except for one season; the 2012 season. Last season the Steelers ranked first in yards allowed, but only sixth in points allowed per game. That ranking, at 19.6 points per game, was their fourth worst in the last ten years and nearly tied for third worst with the 2006 season, which was Bill Cowher’s last season with the team. Both of those seasons ended with the Steelers out of the playoffs and an 8-8 record. Now I understand that it’s hard to expect your team to finish in the top two or three of points allowed and yards given up on defense each season. With the amount of money the Steelers have invested in their defense, however, there are a lot of expectations for that group. For a group that typically performs very well it was hard to watch them allow at least 26 points to four teams that finished at 8-8 or worse during the 2012 season. The Titans, Cowboys, Raiders and Chargers all scored at least 26 points against the Steelers defense and all three teams beat the Steelers in 2012. The Steelers worst previous points per game when ranked first in yards was 16.8. In 2012 they allowed 19.6 points per game, which is a difference of just about 2.8 points. Last season the Steelers lost five games by three points so that difference of 2.8 points may have made the difference between making the playoffs and finishing 8-8. As the Steelers prepare for the 2013 season they will look to fix the scoring defense and the run game. To do so they are rumored to be looking to work on their offensive line, find a feature running back, and improve their pass rush on defense. Last season the Steelers ranked first against the pass on defense even though they ranked 15th in the league in sacks and struggled to pressure the quarterback for most of the season. An increased pass rush should help the defense be even better and should help create more turnovers. In 2012 the Steelers finished with a minus-ten turnover ratio. That tied them for eighth-worst in the league. The Pittsburgh Steelers have some improvements to make this off-season, but if they can improve the run game, pass rush, and create more turnovers 2013 they will be on their way to the playoffs and can put an unpleasant 2012 season behind them. The post Here’s the Pittsburgh Steelers Biggest Issue from the 2012 Season appeared first on SteelBlitz Steelers Blog.

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